Eating a raw diet for weight loss, another celebrity fad or a stripped down approach to healthy eating that works?
Essentially, you consume primarily raw, unrefined, preferably organic, plant-based whole foods.
But eating raw foods should be a big part of everyone’s diet, whether following a raw diet for weight loss or not. Foods like:
It makes common sense to eat a lot of raw, unprocessed foods as they’re high in nutrients and have a higher enzyme content than foods that have been cooked.
There’s some evidence that cooking foods destroys the enzymes in the food you eat. The way you cook food can also destroy some of it’s nutritional value.
For instance, microwaving broccolli reduces its nutritional value by 97%, boiling by 80%, yet steaming retains 80% of its nutritional value.
Eating it raw…not for us, we’re afraid, we’ll go for the steamed version!
However, juicing and blending raw fruit and veg is a great way to eat your five or more servings a day. Try adding in a few nuts as well – a sprinkling of almonds with peaches is a great combination!
Raw Diet for Weight Loss is Effective
So Why Eat a Raw Diet For Weight Loss…?
If you’re busy, in a hurry, eating raw fruit is a great way to keep hunger at bay as well as getting a proportion of your daily vitamin and mineral intake.
Indeed, the nutritional benefits of eating raw foods (we’re the only creature on earth that cooks it’s food), foods in their natural state are significant.
There are enzymes present in raw foods that help you to digest them. Cook the food (heating it above boiling point) and you can destroy those enzymes.
Not only do you destroy some vitamins and minerals by cooking, it can also make them harder to digest.
There’s also some evidence that eating raw plant foods can confer a number of health benefits, such as:
Let’s just qualify that last one, though, as there are plenty of foods that can be eaten raw that do contain large amounts of fat, nuts being a good example, as well as carbs, many fruits for example.
Too much fat and too many carbs, whether eaten raw or cooked can lead to weight gain.
Balance, even when eating largely raw foods is still important if weight loss is your goal.
Is a Raw Diet For Weight Loss Healthy…?
Now, there are proponents of a completely raw diet, where none of the food is cooked or otherwise ‘processed’ in any way.
That’s not what we’re proposing here.
What we’re saying is that there are definite advantages to eating a proportion of your food raw – fruits and salads in particular, so you save time and get the maximum nutritional benefit from them.
The latter point being important for everyone, not just people trying to lose weight.
Raw foods are nutrient dense, high in fibre, low in saturated fat and salt and high in minerals like potassium.
All good reasons to eat raw foods, given the protective effects that they may confer against certain cancers and cardiovascular disease.
However, eating only raw foods is a bit limiting to say the least. It may be possible to eat just raw foods, but that may well get a bit boring, albeit healthy.
What about meat, fish, vegetables such as potatoes, cereals, pulses?
These are important foods and contribute to a balanced nutritional intake, containing nutrients that may be hard to source from just foods that can be eaten raw.
Iron from meat and calcium from dairy products being good examples.
Getting enough protein could also be a problem, particularly if no meat, fish or dairy products are eaten. Check out our page on protein for more information.
Another interesting point to note is that some research on phytonutrients, chemicals found in plant foods that have antioxidant and other benefits, shows that they may be better absorbed by the body when cooked.
For example, alpha and beta carotene, found in carrots; lutein in spinach; lycopene in tomatoes.
Ironically, if you’re going to eat just raw foods, you may want to consider a supplement.
Eating a diet consisting of the optimal balance from the main food groups is hard enough. The planning required when eating just a raw diet for weight loss can be extremely difficult!
Is Eating a Raw Diet For Weight Loss a Good Idea…?
Eating raw foods as part of a healthy weight loss plan and a balanced diet generally, is a definite winner.
Is a completely raw diet for weight loss necessary or recommended? Whether to lose weight or for good health generally? In our opinion, no.
By all means eat plenty of salads, fresh fruit, sushi, smoothies and shakes.
But steaming your veg and eating cooked meat and fish, or vegetable alternatives if you’re a vegetarian is fine in our opinion.
If you do eat a raw diet for weight loss or for the long term, pay close attention to ensuring you get all the macro and micronutrients your body needs for optimal health.
Planning becomes all the more important when you completely exclude major food groups, which for busy people may cause an added headache or two!
An exclusively raw diet for weight loss? Not necessary. Eating raw foods as part of a healthy weight loss plan Certainly.